Volume 12 Issue 2 | Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020
Throughout this publication, you will see the following color-coded dots accompanying each article. They represent which strategic goal the article addresses.

• Focusing on Learning • Connecting the Community • Securing the Future

In this issue:
  • Superintendent's greeting
  • Remote Learning Survey
  • What's new in District 58 this year?
  • District news
  • Board of Education news
  • Thank you
  • Community News
  • Calendar

Have feedback regarding Communicate 58? Click here!
Greetings from Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell
Dear District 58 Community,

I hope this letter finds you and your family well. As my previous communications have stated, our entire team is working tirelessly to assess and build a flexible and adaptable plan to transition students to in-person instruction. That plan will be presented to the Board of Education at the Sept. 28 meeting. As you are aware, at the Sep. 14 Board meeting, there was previous discussion of the initial planning efforts and all of the criteria and measures that go into in-person instruction. You can view the meeting (and all meetings) on the District 58 YouTube Channel and also view details of the efforts and Board discussion on BoardDocs.

As we get ready to present this draft plan to the Board of Education, I would like to take a moment to thank parents and the school community for your feedback and patience. Your input and results of the informal survey on your family’s intentions for learning were all very helpful in the development of the plan. While many opinions were expressed over the course of the last two months, one of the things that remain certain is that we have a passionate community that cares deeply about our children. 

This plan will not be perfect. However, we have a highly talented and dedicated team of teachers, support staff and administrators, a lot more experience than we did a few short weeks ago and clearer, consistent requirements from the state and the DuPage County health departments and the county’s  Return to School Framework. This framework provides guidance on how schools should operate during three COVID-19 transmission scenarios. Currently, DuPage County is in the moderate transmission category and unfortunately moving toward the substantial transmission category. 

As such, our plans need to remain fluid and flexible as we will likely move to and from different categories of transmission this fall and winter, especially during the cold and flu season. The plan will also look different than it did when we first embarked on developing a Return to Learn program in mid-summer. At that time, DuPage County was at its lowest transmission level and guidance allowed more movement of students. As before, the Return to Learn plan will also include a full remote option and plans for students who are excluded from school due to being in close contact with or having a suspected case of COVID-19. It will be critical that each plan is in sync in order to provide every child a consistent and rigorous academic experience. It is also critical that we plan for transitions from one scenario to another as pivoting from full remote to hybrid and back to remote, for example, takes an enormous amount of work and institutional energy. 
Thank you for your support and patience as we work through this formidable task.

Finally, in order to help us assess how Remote Learning is working with your family, please respond to a survey here. (See the article below).


Dr. Kevin B. Russell
Superintendent of Schools
How are we doing?

While we are moving toward a plan to offer instruction on-site, we would like feedback from families regarding their child’s current experience with Remote Learning instruction. We will use the results to continue to improve Remote Learning, which will be part of any learning plan we develop during the pandemic. Please respond to this survey by September 30, 2020.

Curriculum Nights

Curriculum Nights will be held this week virtually. We value your involvement and encourage you to attend these important evenings to learn more about our schools, your child’s teacher and classroom learning. An email was sent from each of your child’s teachers inviting you to join the Zoom session for Curriculum Night. Here is more information on what to expect. 

Help Desk

The District 58 Tech Team is here to support you and your child during Remote Learning. We recognize that there will be technical challenges and we will work to find a resolution within 24 hours. In most cases, the resolution time will be much shorter than that. If you need urgent assistance, please call us at 630-719-2768. You may also use our text message support number at 630-415-0202. We are open from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Vaccine deadline October 15
As required by law, all new students, as well as students entering grades K, 2 and 6, must receive health examinations and immunizations and submit completed health forms. The state maintains a deadline date of Oct. 15 for students to be up to date with their vaccinations. This is required even if students are attending our schools remotely. If these immunizations are not completed on or before October 15, students will not be able to attend school, per the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Student assessments will be held remotely
MAP assessments are administered to students each year to identify student achievement levels in reading and mathematics. This is an adaptive assessment; that is, when a child answers a question correctly, their next question is a more difficult question. If a child answers incorrectly, their next question is a less challenging question. 

This year, NWEA, which creates the assessment, has provided a method in which to administer the MAP assessment remotely. District 58 will begin delivering this assessment remotely to students during the week of Sept. 28; specific information will be shared directly from principals/teachers. For detailed information about NWEA-MAP in general, please visit https://www.nwea.org/.
Save the date for Parent Teacher Conferences
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held virtually this fall. Below are the scheduled times for conferences. Families will be able to register for conferences between Thursday, Oct. 8 and Friday, Oct. 16. Families will register through the PowerSchool Parent Portal (as opposed to SQUIRREL). Elementary school families will receive information later this month. They are encouraged to set up their portal accounts so that they are ready to register for conferences when the registration window opens. 

PK - Elementary Conferences:
October 20: 4:40 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
October 22: 4:40 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
October 23: 8:00 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. 

Middle School Conferences:
October 20: 4:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
October 22: 4:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
October 23: 8:00 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. 
Why are some students at school?
Some specialized programs like BEST, DLP and RISE are currently meeting in our schools. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has asked Districts to prioritize onsite instruction for students with disabilities. For students with special needs, many new protocols need to be in place to support student and staff safety for onsite instruction. As such, we have prioritized students with the most complex needs as our place to start in-person learning. “Our special programs staff and administrators have done a tremendous job of learning, implementing, and refining these protocols based upon the unique needs of the students they support,” said Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Dr. Jessica Stewart. Critical to the District’s success is the ability to support students with special needs while minimizing close contact. In the coming weeks, we look to welcome more students onsite. Student groups will include those who participate in alternate core instruction, students who require instructional assistant support, and those who are within the general education classroom less than 80% of their week per their individualized education plan (IEP). There will continue to be explicit training in safety protocols to ensure the ongoing safety of our students and staff.
Work for District 58!

Looking for a job? Work for District 58! 
 District 58 is hiring for substitutes, custodial maintenance positions, registered nurses, social workers and others. Check out the open positions on our website www.dg58.org.

COVID and Transparency
We are committed to communicating transparently about COVID-19 cases in District 58. We will continue to send information to parents on suspected and positive cases of COVID-19 in their student's respective school. We will also post this information on our website under COVID-19 Communications. Previously, we had posted the letters on our Finances and Transparency page.

We will be gathering signatures from families next week acknowledging that they have received and read the handbook. Just a reminder that the Parent Handbook is available online here. Please watch an email next week. For families that requested hard copies, rather than online copies, they will be mailed out this month. 

Strategic Plan Goals
The Strategic Plan remains a critical piece of governance for District 58. After an intensive community engagement process, the District set three strategic goals:
  • Focusing on Learning
  • Connecting the Community
  • Securing the Future
Under each of those goals are a number of objectives. Each quarter, the District Leadership Team (DLT) composed of staff, board and community members meet to review progress on the goals and objectives. Here is their latest report, provided at the Sept 14 Board of Education meeting.
Zoom surprise

U of I Head Football Coach surprised the Grove Preschool teacher and football fan Nancy Hildreth on a Zoom meeting. The Zoom bomb was initiated by Preschool Coordinator Jackelyn Cadard as part of the college’s teacher appreciation plan. Here is a story about the fun surprise.
Celebrating with a theme

Here’s how students in Kingsley’s dual language class celebrate birthdays. The student who is celebrating picks the theme for a dress up day. Today, students wore blue and yellow, which also are Kingsley’s school colors!
Art in the Environment

Composing and taking photos is one thing, editing them to make them beautiful is another. Here are some projects documenting art in the environment by 4th graders at Pierce Downer, El Sierra, Highlands and Kingsley.

Critical learning

Social emotional learning is integral to the curriculum during Remote Learning and the pandemic. First graders at Indian Trail learn how to identify their feelings during this 1st grade lesson and discussion.

A morning meeting

Kindergarteners at Henry Puffer enjoy starting each day with a morning meeting with friends. Singing and moving makes the morning so much fun!
New tools

Remote Learning is giving us new tools! At Lester teachers are adding voice comments and even digital stickers to student work. Fairmount 3rd graders learned to share their Zoom screens, a game changer in math!
Getting physical!

It’s important that Remote Learning isn’t all screen time. At O'Neill and Herrick Middle Schools, teachers and students are working out in PE and doing live science experiments.

Zooming large

Sixth grade El Sierra teacher Patricia Incrocci wants her class to live large. She displays a projector to see and support her class during Zoom meetings. 
The perfect space

Hillcrest and Belle Aire students set up learning areas in their homes that limit distractions and have all their learning materials close by.

September Board Briefs

The District 58 Board of Education held a regular business meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 at Herrick Middle School and via YouTube live stream. View the agenda and presentation links and access the meeting video. Highlights from the meeting included a report from Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell on planning for possible in-person learning, additional directives from state and local health departments and how the District is pursuing equity among all students in District 58.
Special Meeting

The Board will hold a special meeting to review the Return to Learn Plan and a budget hearing. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Downers Grove Village Hall. You can view the agenda when it is posted and view the meeting live on the Village of Downers Grove YouTube channel. Following the meeting, a replay of the video will be posted on the District’s YouTube page. 

Blessings in a Backpack
Blessings in Backpack serves District 58 students
Blessings in a Backpack kick started the 2020-21 school year with a district wide packing event. A month’s supply of supplemental weekend food was packed by volunteers from across the district. The outdoor event spanned a full day as groups of two to three took turns loading bags (wearing masks and socially distanced when not from the same family group.) During remote learning, the school bus routes will be utilized to deliver the bags directly to door steps.

Free flu vaccines and face masks

Free flu vaccines and free face masks are available for low income and uninsured DuPage County residents. Here are vouchers for the vaccines in both English and Spanish. Click here to learn more.
Halloween in Downers Grove

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Village of Downers Grove has been following the guidance of the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the Governor's Office and the DuPage County Health Department. Recently, the DuPage County Health Department indicated that the Illinois Department of Public Health plans on publishing guidance for Trick or Treating. This guidance should be made available by the end of September. The Village will share this guidance with residents.

District 58’s E-flyer Program helps us “go green” by permitting approved non-profit organizations to post flyers online. Here are flyers from September. Go to our webpage to see all e-flyers.
Sept. 22-24
Curriculum Nights

Monday, September 28
Board of Education meeting

Monday, Oct. 12
No School
Wednesday Oct. 14
Board of Education meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 3
No School: Election Day
Downers Grove Grade School District 58, 1860 63rd St., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Community Relations Office: 630-719-5805 I mhewitt@dg58.org | www.dg58.org